UKPC 47
Privy Council Appeal No 0099 of 2010
Sugar Investment Trust (Appellant) v Jyoti Jeetun (Respondent)
From the Supreme Court of Mauritius
Sir John Laws
Sir Patrick Elias
JUDGMENT DELIVERED BY
20 December 2011
Heard on 17 November 2011
Sanjay Bhuckory SC
(Instructed by Raj Law Solicitors)
(Instructed by Carrington & Associates)
"(i) Your employment may be terminated by either party by giving to the other three months prior written notice of termination;
(iii) If the Company terminates your employment otherwise than for gross misconduct, you will be entitled to compensation representing three months salary for each year of service (starting on 21 November 1994) with the Company. Where employment is terminated by the company under clause (h)(i) without giving the three months notice, three months salary will, in addition to the compensation, be payable.
The 1975 Act
"In this Act –
"agreement" means a contract of employment, whether oral or written, implied or express;
(a) means a person who has entered into or works under an agreement …
(c) does not include …
(ii) except, in relation to Part VI …, a person whose basic wage or salary is at a rate in excess of 240,000 rupees per annum."
Section 3 provides that, subject to any provision to the contrary in any other enactment, the 1975 Act shall apply to every agreement.
"34. Payment of severance allowance
(1) Subject to section 35, an employer shall pay severance allowance to a worker who has been in continuous employment with him for a period of 12 months or more where –
(a) the employer terminates the employment of the worker; …
36. Amount of severance allowance
(1) Subject to the other provisions of this section and to this Part, the amount of severance allowance payable to a worker shall be calculated in accordance with subsection (2), (3) or (4) as appropriate.
(2)-(3) [calculation of normal rate]
(7) The Court shall, where it finds that the termination of employment of a worker employed in any undertaking, establishment or service was unjustified, order that the worker be paid a sum equal to 6 times the amount of severance allowance specified in subsection (3).
(10) For the purposes of this section -
(a) the remuneration which shall be taken into account in calculating the severance allowance shall be the remuneration payable to a worker at the time of the termination of his employment."
The decisions below
"(1) Subject to any express provision of the agreement and termination to subsections (2) and (3), every agreement shall terminate on the last of day of the period agreed upon or on the completion of the agreement's specified piece of work
(2) A party to an agreement, other than an agreement entered into for a specified piece of work, shall, on the termination of the agreement, be deemed to have entered into a fresh agreement upon the same terms and conditions as the previous agreement unless notice has been given by either party to terminate the agreement in accordance with section 31."
"(1) A party to an agreement for a period of time may, except where he is prohibited by any enactment from doing so, terminate the agreement on the expiry of notice given by him to the other party of his intention to terminate the agreement.
(2) Notice may be verbal or written and may, subject to subsection (3), be given at time.
(3) Subject to any express provision of the agreement, the length of the notice to be given under subsection (1) shall –
(a) where the worker has, for not less than 3 years, been in continuous employment with the same employer, be not less than 3 months;
(b) in every other case –
(i) where the worker is remunerated at intervals of not less than fourteen days, be not less than fourteen days before the end of the month in which the notice is given;
(ii) where the worker is remunerated at intervals of less than 14 days, be at least equal to the interval."
Du louage d'ouvrage et d'industrie
1779 Il y a trois espèces principales de louage d'ouvrage et d'industrie:
1. le louage des gens de travail qui s'engagent au service de quelqu'un;
2. celui des voituriers, tant par terre que par eau, qui se chargent du transport des personnes ou des marchandises;
3. celui des architectes, entrepreneurs d'ouvrages et techniciens par suite d'études, devis ou marchés. [Act 37/78]
Du louage des domestiques et ouvriers
1780 Les contrats de louage des gens de travail qui s'engagent au services de quelqu'un seront régis par le Labour Act. [Act 50/75]
1781 Le louage de service fait sans détermination de durée peut toujours cesser par la volonté d'une des parties contractantes. [Act 9/83]"
Néanmoins, la résiliation du contrat par la volonté d'un seul des contractants ne peut être admise que dans les conditions et formes requises par le Labour Act."
Le maître est cru sur son affirmation pour la quotité des gages, pour le paiement du salaire de l'année échue et pour les á comptes donnés pour l'année courante. [Repealed by Act 50/75]"
Of the Hiring of Industry and Services
1779 There are three main kinds of hiring of industry and services:
1. The hiring of workers who enter the service of someone;
2. that of carriers, as well by land as by water, who undertake to carry persons or goods;
3. that of architects, contractors for work and technicians following research, estimates or contracts.
Of the Hiring of Servants and Workers
1780 The contract for the hiring of workers who enter the service of someone shall be governed by the Labour Act.
1781 The hiring of services made without determination of duration may always cease through the wish of one of the contracting parties.
Nevertheless, the termination of the contract through the wish of one only of the contracting parties can only be in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Labour Act."